War powers Bill

10 January 2022

Various iterations of this bill have been debated since the first one was introduced into the Parliament by the Australian Democrats in 1985.

This bill consists mainly of more detailed provisions relating to emergency situations which occur when Parliament is not sitting as well as the type of information to be provided to the public and to the Parliament.

As with previous versions of the bill, Labor believes that this bill leaves too many unanswered questions and may have unforeseen and unintended consequences.

Further to this, at this year’s Labor Party Special Platform conference it was resolved that an Albanese Labor Government will refer the issue of how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict to an inquiry to be conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade.

This inquiry would take submissions, hold public hearings, and produce its findings during the term of the 47th Parliament.

It is important that the Executive have the power to act swiftly and decisively when deploying our troops, not only for the security of our nation and our allies but also to ensure that our troops are operating with legal authority and legal protection.

While we believe it is critical that the Executive have the flexibility to deploy troops when urgency is required, we also believe it is critical that the decision to deploy is subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny. Our proposal for an inquiry will explore how this can best be carried out in a way that ensures the safety of our troops as well as the legitimacy of the decision to send those troops into any conflict.